UK Release date: January 1975
Watched on DVD Saturday 1st September 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Back in the 1970’s glam rock was all the rage and one of the better bands of that era were also one of my favourites, Slade. They were lucky enough to make a lot of money and, as happens, eventually comes the talk of making a film. The question is, what type of film to make; they didn’t want to re-do what had been done before and so a slightly darker route was chosen. They made a film about what it was like to be in a successful band… warts and all. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
Charlie, Paul and Barry are in a band fronted by one Jack Daniels. They are not very successful, just playing pubs, clubs and the occasional wedding. Their manager is a sleazy character called Ron Harding who arranges the few engagements they can get. To be honest, he’s not bothered as long as he gets his 10%. After a run-in with a rival band, “The Undertakers”, fronted by Stoker, the band parts company with Jack Daniels and Stoker ends up as their front-man. At their first gig a representative of an advertising company from London happens to hear them and is impressed. They are offered a contract by Robert Seymour and they soon find themselves on their way to stardom with some big money behind them. They call themselves ‘Flame’ and pretty soon everyone has heard of them. But is it all it’s cracked up to be? And have they heard the last from Ron Harding? Well, I’ll leave those questions unanswered or the Spoiler Police (Slade Division) might be paying me a visit (again).
Not the greatest production ever made; even so, it holds together pretty well. I was surprised at how well the band members did in playing their parts; Don Powell (drums) as Charlie, Jim Lea (bass) as Paul, Noddy Holder (vocals/guitars) as Stoker and Dave Hill (guitars) as Barry. Of course there were also some professional actors involved and they all did a pretty good job too; Tom Conti as Robert Seymour, Alan Lake as Jack Daniels, Johnny Shannon as Ron Harding, Kenneth Colley as Tony Devlin and Anthony Allen as Russell.
I really liked the gritty feel of this one, very reminiscent of films of the late 60’s, early 70’s. I have to admit to being a fan of the band and the film features two of their very best songs; “How Does it Feel” and “Far Far Away”; which is bound to swing my vote (slightly). A very interesting film giving an insight into the way bands were manipulated and eventually torn apart by unscrupulous people. I very much enjoyed it and I think it deserves more recognition. I also watched the documentary that comes with the DVD and I can see why certain band members were a little worried about how it would be received. They shouldn’t have, it’s a fine piece of work and well worth a look.
SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
My score: 8.4/10
IMDb Score: 6.8/10 (based on 219 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: NO DATA: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 40/100 ‘Want to See’ (based on 28 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
(not sure which is current)
Jack Daniels: [after been given their work schedule] Thanks Mrs. B. Two pubs, four socials and a bloody jacaranda club.
Charlie: Not a bad week though.
Ron Harding's secretary: Not a bad month.
Jack Daniels: [shouts over the din of a poor drum solo audition] Not your actual Gene Cooper is he?
Barry: Who's she?
Jack Daniels: Before your time.
Song: “How Does it Feel”: